COVID19: One death, hospitalisations up, more Omicron cases

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Cyprus reported another coronavirus death on Saturday, with hospitalisations increasing as the government confirmed more Omicron cases ahead of a cabinet meeting Monday.

The latest victim of the pandemic was an 88-year-old woman, taking the death toll to 608, 11 of them in December.

The average age of those who died is 75.8, with the majority men (64%).

Daily infections dipped to 428, from Friday’s 662 and below the recent high of 706.

Hospitalisations increased by seven to 145 but saw more serious cases drop by five at 42.

Intubated patients increased by three to 20, while 79.32% of hospital patients were reported as unvaccinated.

Five patients are still considered post-Covid, having recovered from the virus, but remain intubated and in a serious state.

This weekend will be decisive as far as the course of the measures against COVID-19, after 500 students and close contacts in Limassol were called to take PCR tests after three students tested positive for the Omicron variant on Friday and another two on Saturday.

According to the Ministry of Health, the possibility of harsher restrictions cannot be ruled out.

Health Ministry Spokesperson Constantinos Athanasiou said 500 people were notified to take PCR tests at the Limassol school, where the three students who returned home from an overseas programme tested positive.

Two more tested positive Saturday with the Omicron variant after 300 PCR tests.

Positive Omicron cases will undergo mandatory state quarantine.

The total number of SARS-CoV-2 infections since March 2020 rose to 140,458.

Testing was lower Saturday, with 78,840 PCR and antigen rapid tests about 15,000 less than the day before.

With fewer tests and daily infections, the benchmark ‘test positivity’ rate dropped to 0.55%, from 0.71%, below the high-risk threshold of 1%.

Of the new infections, 18 were passengers arriving at Larnaca and Paphos airports, and 106 were diagnosed from private initiative, hospital, and GP tests.

A further 204 cases were identified from private rapid tests at labs and pharmacies, and 100 were positive from the free national testing programme, available only to those vaccinated or recovered from earlier infections.